steve reich and katydids

I was out recording the katydids tonight, as they are especially loud and wonderful out there right now. After a while I noticed the ‘phasing’ going on in the overall rhythm. It reminded me of Steve Reich’s signature use of phasing in rhythm.

So I snipped a little excerpt from Steve Reich’s Drumming (1970-71), a section where the rhythm phases out of sync and back in again, and then made a sonogram image of the sound. Putting that next to a sonogram of a similar moment in the katydids’ song is pretty interesting. One has to look closely, but the parallels are there.

here are the sounds:

katydids

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sonogram:
katydid_sonogram

drumming

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sonogram:

reich_sonogram

I suppose it can be argued that the “out” of sync parts in Drumming really aren’t “out,” but the parallels in the sound patterns are still pretty damn cool. The katydid out-of-sync moments are brief, and they depend entirely upon the listener’s location in the swirl of katydid voices. How amazing it would be to have a grid of microphones planted in a forest and somehow visualize the swarming of the sound synchronizations!

– i recorded the katydids with binaural mics; if you want the full immersive effect, use headphones.